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8 Tips for Adjusting to Retirement

9th December 2019

Retirement is something we associate with putting our feet up and finally getting a well-deserved and long extended break. Many don’t realise that despite the weight it lifts from us, this new phase of life can be a little difficult to navigate at first.

You’ve likely thought a lot about how you’ll enjoy your golden years. But there’s a good chance you never thought much about the mental and emotional effect retirement might have on you. For years you’ve worked hard at a career and established who you are in life, so for some, retirement can represent a loss of identity. It can leave you wondering who you are, now that you’re no longer a part of that bank, or school, or restaurant anymore.

Common issues that are associated with retirement is the extra spare time you have, but limited funds to be able to do everything you want to do. This has been known to cause some retirees to develop mental health issues, like depression or anxiety once they have stopped working.

There’s a big chance that you’re reading this article because you’ve found yourself in this cloud of uncertainty. The first thing we ask you to remember is that you’re not alone, many retirees go through this, and we’re here to offer a guiding hand.

We’ve laid out eight tips to help you adjust to this new lifestyle more comfortably, so you can feel fulfilled and happy during this chapter of your life.

It is natural for your emotions to change throughout retirement

If you’re already retired, you’re probably already feeling this and are rolling your eyes right now – but bear with us. There’s an emotional process that most people go through when adjusting to retirement. At first, there’s a feeling of freedom. It’s like you’re on a holiday that’s going to last forever.

Soon you’re hit with something foreign when that sense of novelty wears off, and things will start to feel slower. There might be a stage that involves a lot of, “Oh, no! What did I do?” thoughts, followed by anxiety and boredom. You might even feel guilty for not enjoying retirement as much as you think you should.

This advice may sound counterproductive or scary but remember first and foremost that you are human, and you have these emotions for a reason. The best thing to do is to step out of your comfort zone and let your emotions pass. As suppressing your emotions can lead to negative coping strategies that are not healthy. To prevent this from happening you could do things like going for walks, reading, writing or talking to friends and family to help with your emotions.

Create a routine

Something that knocks a lot of people back when they retire is the sudden lack of structure. The working stage of life was full of routine: Alarm goes off, shower, breakfast, pack a lunch, head out the door. If you are keen to retain this routine, why not incorporate it in your retirement lifestyle. Plan your days around certain activities that you want to do most days, for example going to the allotment, shops, gym, social meetings etc. You may be the type of person who wants a fluid and structure-free retirement which is fine too as long as that arrangement makes you happy.

Set yourself goals

Before retiring you will have lots of goals and milestones you wanted to achieve, for example getting a promotion, having kids or moving to a bigger house. So why not set yourself some goals when you are retired. Once again, life without these things to get up and work for, may leave you asking, ‘What’s the point?’ Well, you can still focus on goals after you retire, though they might be a little different than they were before. These goals give you a sense of purpose and something to strive towards and achieve.

Set yourself some goals for the first month, 6-months, first year into your retirement. These could be things like sorting out the garden, travelling around Europe, start a blogging site and so on. Tailor these goals around the things you enjoy doing.

Develop friendships

Retirement can also have the risk that you could become isolated from other people and society. After working with colleagues for 30 or so years and meeting up with people nearly every day it can become something you miss once you retire. By scheduling to meet with friends throughout the week it can provide you with the social interactions you are missing.

With the extra time you have in retirement, it is also the perfect time to make new friends. If you’re not one for heading out the door and making small talk with strangers, going online can be a great way to make new friends. Just remember the advice you gave your children once upon a time, don’t trust people you don’t know online and be careful who you talk to. This may sound obvious, but there are plenty of examples of retirees being taken advantage of because they didn’t know any better when they went online. Other ways to make friends is to join hobby groups where they are aimed at a specific hobby you love, like fishing, golf, baking and so on.

Set out a new budget

Even if you were careful with every penny when you were younger, sometimes the best savers might have to make some spending adjustments after retirement. In the perfect world you will have enough saved to last you well into your later years, and still have some money left over for your children and grandchildren. However, it is becoming common for some people to fall short of that goal. As life expectancies are growing, it is making it even harder to know how much you need to have saved.

Work out what you need in retirement and what you don’t need. For example, the cost of petrol commuting to work won’t be needed once you stop work, however you may need to pay memberships for a variety of organisations that you want to join.

This will provide you with a general idea for how much money you can use for entertainment purposes. It will also help you to see whether you might need to take on a part-time job to be able to have an extended annual vacation. Or you might find that you have enough money left over at the end of the week to put into a savings account for your grandkids. It all depends on you and your personal circumstances and needs. But if you need help, financial advisers are always ready to provide expert advice.

Work in retirement

So, you’ve got some personal goals and you’re seeing your friends on a regular basis. But what if work was your life? And what if hobbies and chats just aren’t enough? You could continue to work part time to retain the working lifestyle, alternatively you could pick up the odd stress-free jobs that you enjoy doing and can fit around your schedule (babysitting, dog walking, tutoring etc). This will provide you with a bit more income and also fills out your week a bit.

Volunteer for something you care about

If you aren’t keen to continue working in retirement but do want a similar work routine. Why not volunteer on a regular basis. There are all sorts of things that you could volunteer to do in the local community. Not only are you filling the time with something that you enjoy doing, you are also helping out the community in a good way.

Give yourself time to work out what you want to do

You may envisage retirement going abroad, going walking in the lakes, or simply reading. It’s OK to change your mind after having these ideas when you were at work. People change and retirement is all about making sure you are happy and comfortable. After all, you’ve earned it. Now’s the time to experiment with what you really want.

You have plenty of time to work out what you want to do with your time. If you’ve been stressing out because you don’t know what to do now – take a deep breath and slow down! If thoughts are whizzing through your head, grab a pen and some paper and start getting it all out in front of you. Clarity will likely follow. The benefits of retirement is that you have the time to figure things out.

If you are looking for more help and guidance, get in touch with us on 01609 760960. Or arrange a call back and one of our financial advisers will be happy to help.

Reference – BL086 – Dec – 19

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